Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Andreas Vesalius

Flemish-born anatomist and physician Andreas Vesalius was instrumental in reestablishing anatomy as an observational science after more than a millennium of stagnation under the teachings of the Roman physicians Galen. He was born in Brussels on December 31, 1514 was the descendent of a notable lineage of physicians.

Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564) was the first to insist on dissections, on exact physiological experiment and direct observation. Early records indicate that Vesalius’s first anatomical presentation was performed privately within the university.

In 1538, as a member of the medical faculty in Padua shortly after completing his medical training, he published Tabulae Anatomicae Sex, a brief anatomical guide for students that continued several Galen’s; mistake, including showing the liver with five lobes.

Vesalius discovered many errors in Galen’s work and revealed his evidence to discredit Galen and to show that Galen’s description of curved human thighbones, heart chambers, segmented breast bones, etc, better matched the anatomy of apes than humans.

Vesalius dissected the cadavers himself. This contravened the usual procedure, on which the professor read from a Galenic text while the body was opened by a menial or prosector. Vesalius began to employ drawings to clarify the various structures of the body.

Andreas Vesalius was the first modern anatomist who based his anatomical description.
Vesalius De Humani Corporis Fabrica was completed and published his magnificent anatomy book in 1542. Shortly after the Fabrica was first published, he left academic life, and like his father, entered the service of the Holy Roman Empire.

Ultimately the scientific study of anatomy became accepted as the avenue of increasing the knowledge of this discipline and the practice of medicine.

With the rise of modern science, the approach that Vesalius pioneered became the standard for medicine. Physicians followed him into the body dissecting it as a way of understanding how it worked.
Andreas Vesalius 

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